False Healer

Chapter Twenty-Two

As Duke mentioned to Audrey that there was something she needed to hear that explained why Nathan pushed her away, he pulled out his cell phone from his pocket, held it up in front of her, and pushed play. Nathan's voice came over the speaker as Audrey listened to him explain to Duke what had been going on with him lately. Duke remained quiet.

Her heart broke as she heard Nathan say, "A lot of them joined a cult in hopes of getting rid of the 'Troubles' and some of them were only too happy that I became one of their targets. I don't blame them for being afraid. I'm afraid, but I am even more afraid to lose the one woman I will always love. I can't be the reason we lose her."

As the conversation ended, Duke turned off his phone and placed it back in his pocket, as Audrey looked up at him and said, "Nathan still blames himself for not reconciling with his father before he died and when Nathan went to speak with him on day he came back to try to set things right, the chief still hurt him."

"The chief never was an easy man to understand," Duke replied. "I can't imagine what it was like to live with him and all his secrets, but despite everything, I'd say Nathan turned out just fine. I may not like him most of the time, but he is a good man, who loves you and who will give up everything to make sure you, me, and the rest of Haven are safe and happy; just like he did today. He saved my life twice. I can't believe I'm indebted to him."

"He'll tell you that you've done more than enough in the last week to repay that debt," Audrey responded. "Thank you for everything."

Duke nodded and answered, "What are friends for? You and me, I mean?"

Audrey asked, "You're never going to admit that you consider him a friend, will you?"

"Never in a million years," Duke replied smugly. "I've got an image to uphold, you know. How would it look to some of my more, as you would say, my unsavory clients, if I were friends with a cop; the police chief no less?"

"Yet, you're willing to admit you and I are friends?" she asked again.

Duke shrugged as he answered, "You're not like Nathan or other cops. You're willing to bend all kinds of rules and you killed the Rev. I know that you don't want to admit that that was a good thing, but believe it or not, some of the people, who didn't really like that you came here to Haven, actually like you now."

Audrey responded, "Yeah, and a lot of the people, who did like me before, don't like me anymore. All I know is that I did what I had to do to save the life of that child. Nathan helped me to realize that I did do the right thing."

"He's going to be all right," Duke replied in hopes of giving her some peace of mind. "You and I both saw how he was out there today. He got the thug to chase after him to save me and he escaped from the hospital just after he woke up to search for him, all when he was as sick as a dog. It would take a lot more to break a strong will like that."

"Why don't you go and get your arm looked at?" Audrey said as she smiled and moved off of him so that he could get up. "It will be awhile before we hear from the doctors about Nathan. I'll be right here."

Duke nodded and then left to get the wound in his arm taken care of. Hours passed and a few people from town had come to the hospital to ask about Nathan's condition, including Dwight, Vince and Dave, and Janet. Then, there were even a few of the people, who were Reverend Driscoll's followers that showed up as well. She ordered them to leave, then threatened to arrest them if they refused, even though she couldn't technically do so, but it was still enough of a scare to get them to do as she said.

Audrey and Duke once again fell asleep as they waited for almost seven hours for the doctors or nurses to come out and give them any news on Nathan. Finally, a doctor walked out from the operating room where Audrey had watched the paramedics wheel him into and they saw that the man's white scrubs were covered in blood; Nathan's blood. The expression on the man's face was grim.

Audrey stood, while Duke remained sitting, as she quickly asked, "How is Nathan?"

The doctor answered, "His condition is extremely critical, but for now, he's still alive. The wound in his shoulder should heal just fine, but the one in his abdomen is much more severe and was more difficult to remove, as it was lodged deep in his right kidney. We've done all we can to repair the damage, but he's lost a lot of blood, so we've had to give him two transfusions so far and will probably have to give him more. Nathan's also managed to break open most of his earlier wounds, so I've had to re-stitch them. I want to remain hopeful, Audrey, but I'm afraid it's too soon to tell if he's going to pull through this time. And, if he does come through this, you need to make sure he doesn't move from his bed for some time. I know how much he hates to stay here in the hospital for long since he can't feel the pain, but you're going to have to force him, or he won't make it this time."

"Thank you, doctor," Audrey responded. "Can I go in and see him now?"

"If you're ready, I'll bring you in," the man replied. "He's in the ICU."

Audrey nodded, then she and Duke, who had gotten up from his chair halfway through their conversation, followed after him as he led them to Nathan's room. Once they arrived outside it, the doctor gently patted Audrey on her shoulder and then turned and walked away so that he could clean himself up.

She turned to look at Duke, who could tell what she wanted as he said, "I'll give you your time alone with him. I'll see you later?"

Audrey answered, "Of course. Thanks again, Duke. I really mean it."

Duke smiled and watched Audrey for a few moments before he walked away, as she turned and walked into the room, where Nathan was once again hooked up to a number of machines by at least three IVs that she could see, sticking out of his arms. But what scared her the most was that this time, it wasn't just a tube that ran under his nose. He was hooked up to a ventilator by a tube down his throat. His skin was pale and grey and his chest, stomach, hands, and feet were covered by new bandages.

Tears streamed down her face as she walked up next to his bed, bent down, and kissed his cheek, hoping that he could feel some comfort in her touch. She then took his hand in hers and carefully lay down in the bed next to him, as she rested her head on his shoulder. There wasn't much space, but she stayed that way as she slept through the entire night, as well as most of the nights after, for as long as he was there.

Two and a half weeks passed by and Nathan was taken off of the ventilator as his breathing was finally improving, but he had yet to wake up. Audrey had gone back to work most days and then would go home to change before coming back almost every night, unless the cases she worked on took up more of her time. Vince and Dave had taken the liberty to fill the room with flowers and other scents that he enjoyed, hoping that they would help to bring him back. Duke even stopped by once and awhile to check up on her and Nathan too. He usually brought food with him, so that she wouldn't go hungry.

It wasn't long after, that the murder trial for Abassi and Taymor began. The rest of the cult pleaded out for smaller sentences, except for the policeman, who killed Officer Kyle and Renee. He went on trial with the others as well. The trial lasted for five days; a record for Haven, and in the end, the verdict for each of them was guilty on all counts. Taymor and the officer were given the death penalty, but sadly, Abassi was only given life in prison, since his intentions were not for them to die. Audrey was angry at the decision, but she was grateful that at least they never going to be set free.

On the evening after the trail ended, Audrey walked into Nathan's room and took a seat beside his bed as she softly ran her fingers through his hair, and her hand along his face, while she spoke to him about the events of the trial and her other cases she had been working on since she's been back at work. Only a few of them involved the 'Troubled.'

After going on for a few minutes, Nathan slowly turned his head toward her as he began to wake up. When he finally opened his eyes, he saw Audrey, who was smiling at him with tears in her eyes. She carefully took his face in her hands and leaned down to kiss him on his lips. This time, Nathan didn't pull away as he moved his arm, placed his hand on the back of her head, and began to kiss her back.

When they let go, Audrey looked down at him and said solemnly, "Thank God, you're finally awake. I was afraid that you weren't ever going to. You have no idea how much I missed you."

Nathan hoarsely spoke as he responded, "I've missed you too. I'm so sorry that I pushed you away, Audrey, but…"

"You don't have to explain anything," Audrey interrupted as she put her fingers over his lips to stop him from speaking. "I already know about the conversation you had with your father when you saw him that day in the cemetery."

"How did… Duke told you, didn't he?" he asked.

She smiled as she replied, "He actually recorded your conversation on his phone and played it for me. He said that he did it in case you didn't get the chance to tell me yourself and it's a good thing that he did. I am so sorry, Nathan. Why didn't you tell me?"

Nathan sadly answered, "I didn't want to push you away. It was killing me that I hurt you at the hospital that day, however long ago that was, but after everything that's happened to me, I realized my father was right; at least about you taking more risks in order to protect me if I allowed you to love me, the way that I love you. Like when you came into the woods to find me. I was lucky that I saw you both in time. You were almost killed out there. You're too important, Audrey."

"Maybe, but you're my partner and just as important, not only to me, but to Haven as well," she said firmly. "Besides, don't you think I have a right to choose, who I love? You know about my track record with men. I will never love someone else, the way that I love you and to be honest, I doubt you will ever love someone else like me again either."

"Just because you're right, doesn't change that it's not dangerous for us to be together," Nathan responded.

Audrey shook her head as she replied, "You're father was wrong to say those things to you, Nathan. And he was wrong about what he said. It's no more dangerous for us, than it is for anyone else. I won't lose you and you won't lose me. Together, we're going to find a way to stop the 'Troubles' once and for all. Do you understand?"

Nathan smiled and reached up to pull her head down gently so that he could give her a kiss, then said, "And we'll find out the truth behind you, Lucy, and Sarah. I promise. I love you."

"I love you too!" she answered as she once again lay down beside him and together fell asleep in each other's arms.

Three weeks later, Nathan was finally released from the hospital. On his first night back at her place, Audrey made a romantic dinner and then they went out and walked along the beach until nightfall, when they lay down together in the sand to watch a meteor shower as it happened above them in the sky.

The next morning, Duke was finally getting around to fixing some of the damage that had been done to his boat over two months ago. Since the whole mess with the cult and helping Audrey and Nathan, he had been busy catching up on the work he had to do to for the bar and restaurant and besides, it was too difficult to work on such a project with a sling over his arm, due to the bullet going through it, but he didn't want to put it off any longer, now that he no longer needed the sling.

After he finally finished mixing up the sealer he usually used to patch up any holes or the walls of the ship, Duke walked out to the deck and found Nathan standing once again in front of him, with an envelope in his hand, as well as a bag from one of the shops in town. Nathan raised his hand in greeting.

Then, he was the first to speak as he said, "Audrey said that I could find you here. How are you feeling; your arm I mean?"

Duke answered, "I'm fine; much better now that I no longer have to wear that stupid sling. It has taken me forever to get all the work done. How about you? You look like you're back to normal?"

"I am, for the most part," Nathan replied. "I have the occasional nightmare, but that doesn't matter. I wanted to come by to give you a few things. Here's a check for the repairs I owe you for your boat and I seem to recall you telling me that I owe you a new coat as well. This one looks just like the one you used to hold over the wound in my shoulder."

"These are great!" Duke responded as he appeared to be surprised, but touched by Nathan's gestures. "Thank you, Nathan."

Nathan nodded as he continued, "I haven't really had the chance to thank you for everything you've done, not only for me, but for Audrey as well. So, thank you. Can I give you a hand? It's the least I can do."

Duke smiled as he answered, "As long as you promise not to do a poor job. This is hard work and you don't have pain as an excuse, like anyone else. I take great pride in my work."

"You've got yourself a deal," Nathan replied as he walked over and began to work alongside the smuggler.

After they finished for the day, Audrey joined them on board the boat and Duke cooked them fish for dinner. Audrey had brought beer for them to drink. Once they were finished, the three of them began playing Poker. Audrey managed to win more hands than either of the guys, until Duke got fed up and tried to cheat without getting caught. It didn't last for long, as Nathan caught him.

Their game went on well into the night and for the first time they actually seemed to enjoy each other's company as they laughed and joked around. However, it wasn't before too long that Nathan and Duke once again began to bump heads as they always had, while Audrey had to step in to be their mediator. Over the next few weeks, everything finally seemed to be getting back to normal, or least as normal as Haven ever was.

The End